Brown scores 14 to help No. 24 SMU beat Memphis 69-62
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) SMU needed more from Nic Moore.
The Mustangs' leading scorer delivered in the second half as No. 24 SMU shook off pesky Memphis in a 69-62 victory Thursday night.
Moore was held without a point in the first half, but his floater with less than a minute to play gave the Mustangs (23-4, 11-4 American Athletic Conference) a 65-62 lead. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and six assists.
SMU coach Larry Brown praised Moore for battling through a shoulder injury that has lingered since a Jan. 24 loss at Temple. SMU and Temple are tied atop the AAC standings.
''We talked about what I could do to get open,'' Moore said. ''He was just telling me to play, move around without the ball. When it came down to the stretch they were encouraging me to take shots, be aggressive.''
Sterling Brown had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Mustangs.
After his floater fell, Moore came away with his sixth steal. That led to Brown drawing an intentional foul, and he made two from the line.
Memphis led 57-56 until Shake Milton hit a 3-pointer and Brown a pair of free throws for a four-point SMU advantage.
''We had to defend. It was kind of an ugly game, kind of a physical game,'' Larry Brown said. ''We were fortunate. I think they missed the last seven shots.''
Jeremiah Martin missed one from the corner that would have given Memphis a lead with less than a minute to go before Moore hit his floater.
Markus Kennedy had 12 points and eight rebounds for SMU.
Freshman swingman Dedric Lawson scored 18 for Memphis (15-13, 6-9), and Ricky Tarrant Jr. added 15 points and seven assists.
Memphis has taken some very disappointing losses lately, including to AAC cellar dwellers East Carolina and Tulane, and Saturday at South Florida.
This one was more respectable.
''If we play like this in some of those other games, we win the games,'' coach Josh Pastner said. ''If the right Memphis team, which is tonight, showed up, if our effort showed up like that, we're capable of beating anybody.''
Memphis led 57-56 on Trashon Burrell's bank shot with less than 7 minutes left before Milton hit his go-ahead 3.
Moore, who was averaging 16.8 points per game, made his first shot with 12:09 left. It was SMU's second 3-pointer of the game and it tied the score at 47.
''I thought Nic was really hurt and Josh did a great job trying to keep him from getting it, but he kind of gutted it out,'' Larry Brown said. ''Pretty awesome performance.''
The Mustangs led 31-30 at halftime.
ONE HAPPY FAN
A fan in a blue Memphis shirt missed a couple of jumpers before making a halfcourt shot for a $250 gift card to Ashley Furniture HomeStore. He celebrated by leaping on the scorer's table and flexing before channeling Terrell Owens. The fan pulled out a Sharpie and against the wishes of Memphis personnel, signed the basketball and handed it back.
NOT SO FREE
The teams combined to make only 24 of 44 free throws. SMU was 13 for 22.
Memphis: Attendance was 13,546 in the penultimate home game of the season. The school needed to average 6,812 fans over the last two home games to receive between $420,000 and $480,000 from the FedExForum's primary tenant, the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. That is a prorated amount of the $800,000 the Tigers would get if they averaged 10,000 fans per game.
SMU: Junior guard Jonathan Wilfong drew his first start of the season in his hometown. Wilfong has appeared in 14 games. He played the first 4 minutes and did not attempt a shot.
SMU hosts Tulane on Sunday.
Memphis hosts Tulsa on Sunday.